Would have been better, had it been based on the Nintendo games.
Ward, a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his younger brother, a college drop-out named Jack (Zac Efron) investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row, named Hillary (John Cusack). However, the only reason they are doing so is because the gal that wants Hillary out, a sexxed-up, piece of work named Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), just so happens to be the apple of Jack’s eyes.
I’ve been hearing a lot of crazy shit about this film and to be honest: it’s all deserved. Everybody knows Lee Daniels because he pulled-off Precious about 4 years ago and it showed him as the type of director that can get a story, no matter how gritty or despicable, and be able to make it in the least-bit inspirational for people. However, it wasn’t his first rodeo, as that honor (and I guess, dishonor) goes to a little, fucked-up movie called Shadowboxer. If you’ve never heard of it, please, don’t go watch it because it’s just an insane piece of work to watch and it will have you question whether or not you’ve just watched two films, from the same director. And if you have heard or have actually seen it, then buckle up, because that exactly the same type of crazy shit you’re going to get here.
As much as Daniels’ debut may have blew huge gonads, this flick is actually more controlled than that one and that’s probably because it’s just wild, without making any excuses for being so. There’s definitely that type of grungy, exploitative look and feel to the movie that has you feel as if you are in the dirty South, around the 60′s when racial-issues were up to the forefront and everybody was just sweating their asses off. If anything Daniels does do right in this flick, it’s at least nail the look and feel of the period that he has it placed-in, but everything else, well, it is sort of all-over-the-place.
Being “all-over-the-place” isn’t really all that much of bad thing if you can do it, and get away with it. The problem isn’t that Daniels can’t do it, because he sure as hell makes sure that everybody knows he can in every, damn second of this movie, but it’s more that he can’t get away with it. He can show two people making each other cum without ever touching one another and just simulating dirty things to one another, but it sticks out like a sore-thumb to everything else, and he can’t get away with it; he can show a girl peeing on a guy because he got stung by a bunch of jelly-fish, but it’s just odd and seems like it was only done for shock-factor, and he also can’t get away with it; and lastly, he can try and bring some issues up about the whole Civil Rights-movement, but when you compare it to the last sequences I just mentioned, it seems uneven, and once again, he can’t get away with it. Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodóvar (who apparently wanted to take this material at one time), or even Robert Rodriguez for that matter, could take this material, do whatever the hell they wanted to with it, and at least make all of the crazy shit and melodramatic stuff gel well enough together, that you almost don’t notice it, but Daniels isn’t one of those directors. He’s just a regular-director that seems like he’s trying his damn near hardest to have us all forget about the over-weight girl story he pulled-off 4 years ago, and try to distract us with insane amounts of sex, whether it actually happen on-screen or just be insinuated. Either way, there’s a bunch of sex that seems to come out nowhere at times.
Is all of this wackiness and cookiness fun? In a way, yes it is and honestly, as much as I may be ragging on the film right here, I am more or less just hating on Daniels. Not to say that the guy doesn’t know how to make a story move, because he definitely does, but it focuses way too much on the personal lives of these characters and not in an exciting or electric way either, it’s just a boring, way-too-dramatic way that comes off as trying too hard. We never really care for these characters, the case they continue to push to the side, or what their relationships are with each other and how that affects one another, and I guess that was the point. Daniels is just giving us a bunch of dirty people that we can either care to like or not. Whether or not we actually do, doesn’t matter, because as long as Daniels is just allowing us to see how insane he can be, then he’s the one with the real joy in the end. That kind of ticks me off now that I think about it, because there was definitely a crap-ton of promise with this flick and premise, it’s just a shame that it had to fall so far from ever achieving that said promise.
The only promise that this flick ever does hit head-on, is the ensemble cast and what they are able to do with each of their roles, no matter how wacky or unbelievable they may be. Zac Efron is the sort-of voice of reason throughout this whole flick and is definitely growing-up right in front of our own eyes, but if you think about it, it is sort of a dull role for the guy but nowhere near as dull as the role Robert Pattinson had in Cosmopolis. Still, Efron makes this character work and his performance shows-off a kid that definitely wants to be treated like an adult, yet, still has the tendencies of a kid that just doesn’t yet know what to do with his life or who to spend the rest of it with. Sort of how Efron is now, just without being peed-on. Then again, I still have no idea what him and Vanessa Hudgens did in their spare-time.
Playing his big bro, Matthew McConaughey is good as the slick and sly reporter that can not only charm his way into getting whatever the hell he wants, but also has a bit of problems brewing underneath that he’s pretty good at hiding. This is a nice role for McConaughey and it’s one that he can practically play while sleeping, but after a year where tore the roof down as force to be reckoned with in flicks like Killer Joe and Magic Mike, this one definitely ranks the lowest-of-the-low for him. Not to say it’s bad, but it’s not to say that it’s anything special, either. John Cusack is playing really, really against-type here as the psychotic and nutty Hillary, and shows that Cusack can probably do more than any of us ever expected from him. He’s strange, he’s weird, but he’s also very sinister and I like how Cusack totally just swan-dived right into the role, totally leaving all shades and memories behind of Peter Gabriel tapes in his pathway. Not to say that this is a special performance that makes us think of Cusack in a different way now, but it’s definitely a role that shows the guy can do more than just be that old dude from the 80′s we all remember relating to when our dates walked-out on us at prom. Yeah, that he is no more.
The one who really steals the spotlight from the rest of these dudes is Nicole Kidman, as the starlet fire fox, Charlotte. Kidman hasn’t been this sexy or bad-ass since the days of Eyes Wide Shut and To Die For, but here, she totally steals all the glory and attention, and has all of the fun out of everybody here. She just relishes in the fact that she can be sexy, be a little dirty, but also be a little bit sympathetic as well and once things start to go South for her and this story, she’s the only one you really give a single hoot about, especially since she’s the only one that has the most believable convictions out of the whole story (she just wants love). Kidman is probably getting the most recognition and praise for her work here and rightfully so, because the gal just looks freakin’ hot and steams up every scene she’s in, whether she’s trying to seduce people and act sexy, or not. Either way, Kidman definitely had my attention in almost every scene and I’m glad so, too, because she deserved it.
Consensus: You may have a boat-load of fun with The Paperboy if you’re looking for some weird shit to happen, non-stop without any rhyme or reason as to why exactly, but if not, then you may just be bored and annoyed by how uneven everything is, despite Daniels trying his hardest to make us think or see otherwise. You strike-out this time, my friend!
I should have just watched the playoffs instead.
Good-hearted physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is looking for romance but keeps finding duds until she meets professional basketball player Scott McKnight (Common). When Scott suffers a major injury, it’s up to Leslie to save his career. Leslie and Scott become close as they work together, but Leslie’s beautiful, gold-digging childhood chum — who is also Scott’s estranged girlfriend — threatens their relationship.
Looking right at this film and off the bat you think it’s a Tyler Perry movie somehow. But in a way, I actually kind of wish it was. I never wish that.
The one thing that will attract you to this film is that it is very well-intentioned with the heart in the right place. It’s a story about love and class coming together, and seeing the one who really is right, or in this case, “Wright” for you. I didn’t hate this little element to the film because it does have some nice and sweet moments, but none of it actually does anything amazing.
So the major problem with this film is that this is beyond predictable. Every single little event that happened in this film, I knew was going to happen even before it actually did. This is your basic Cinderella story that goes nowhere that we haven’t already seen before with it’s story. This is what annoyed me because I knew if I gave it a chance I would start to actually enjoy myself and possibly even really like it, but almost every time I would find myself very close to letting that happen, they would do something predictable, and thus my interest went right out the window. It’s also been advertised as a romantic comedy, when in reality, this is a romantic drama with light-hearted moments that are kind of comedy, but a lot of this comedy is unintentional due to this crappy screenplay.
Queen Latifah is super charming in this film, as she is in almost every film that she does, and makes it a lot easier to sit through some of the more blander scenes here. I like how she brought a lot of spunk to her role to actually have us believe that she really could make any guy, hot or not, fall into her arms. Common is a far better musician, than an actor which is a shame because I think he’s a real cool guy. This is his first real starring role, and I couldn’t keep a straight face when I was watching him deliver his lines. He seems very disoriented, generic, and very unemotional like he’s just going through the motions, and has no real idea what’s he’s doing up there. Paula Patton, who everybody knows as the loving teacher from Precious, does a complete 180 as Morgan, the gold-digging woman who sets her sights after Common. The film oddly enough has sympathy for her even though she kind of is this evil person doing terrible things.
Consensus: Just Wright is well-intentioned with some cute moments, and a likable lead, but overall this is just too overlong, predictable beyond belief, and ultimately just too annoying to actually have fun with.
Hello to everyone, it seems like there is a new meme going around the web nowadays. Thankfully my good buddy at The Pork Chop Express, Kevin Blumeyer, tagged me up in this. So if you guys loved my Top Ten Movie Facts, then your going to love this, or I hope…
1. What was you first movie-going experience?
Probably my first experience of going to the movies has to be seeing Mulan back in 1998. I went with my grandparents, my cousins, and the rest of my family. From what I remember everybody was like talking, and my parents had to take me out of the theaters cause I kept talking and they smacked me. For some reason that seems to happen to me every once and awhile in today’s world.
2. How many DVDs do you own?
I would like to say 100 but I’ll hold you to that cause half of them I haven’t seen, and my whole family has had all these DVDs since I was a kid. Now cause of Netflix, and youtube, I barely even need DVDs anymore. Its a sad thing but, hey, that’s life.
3. What is your guilty pleasure movie?
My one favorite guilty pleasure movie has to be Saving Silverman. I watched this back when I was in 5th grade, on Comedy Central, and just could not stop laughing. Now that I’m older and know more, I still couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t know what it is but always hearing Neil Diamond on the radio, just makes me chuckle.
4. You’ve compiled a list of your 100 top movies. Which films didn’t make the count?
I have not made a list yet, mostly cause of all the time they inhabit. If I had to say a couple of films it would be Crazy Heart, Precious, and Chicago. I thought Chicago was honestly OK, but in all honesty defiantly not Best Picture worthy over The Pianist. Precious was this film that people were saying that was amazing, and will make you cry, however, I didn’t feel like I wanted to cry at all, I just wanted Mo’Nique to get her Oscar. Crazy Heart, has a good central performance from Bridges, and nice supporting one from Gyllenhaall, but is very run-of-the-mill, and was just a musician’s The Wrestler, hate to say it.
5. Which movie(s) do you watch compulsively over and over again?
Almost every time Saving Private Ryan is on, I just can’t take my eyes off the screen, or change the channel. But when I was in 5th grade I would always watch Mr. Deeds with my grand mom. Yeah, looking at it now, it kind of sucks, but hey it is a heart-warming movie none the less.
6. Classic(s) you’re ashamed to admit that you haven’t seen yet?
I still haven’t seen Cool Hand Luke(which Aiden loves), 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a lot of old-school epics. I haven’t seen Lawrence of Arabia in full cause by the 30 minute mark I just couldn’t handle it and I fell right asleep. I’m still pissed at myself for not having seen The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly yet! Don’t worry I queuing it up.
7. What movie posters are hanging in your room?
I wish had a lot more hanging up in my room, it’s just that I wish I had more room, in my room (pun intended), to put them in there. Also, posters aren’t exactly the cheapest things around, but I’m working on it.
1. American Beauty (it’s not what it looks like trust me)
2. Enter the Dragon (it’s mostly just a poster of Bruce Lee that say’s the title but I still count it as a poster, since Bruce Lee kicks ass)
3. American History X ( I’m glad I never really have black people or Jewish people in my room, or I’m in trouble.
So I hope all of you guys liked my answers to these cringe-worthy questions. Oh and I have to tag some peeps for this:
You young bulls better great crackin’ on that!!
Not quite what I was expecting.
Viciously abused by her mother (Mo’Nique) and pregnant by her father, Harlem teen Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) has an unexpected chance at a different life when she enrolls in an alternative school. Teacher Blu Rain (Paula Patton) encourages her, but Precious must battle unimaginable barriers everywhere in her life. Lee Daniels directs his drama that features appearances by Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.
So I’ve been basically wanting to see this film forever, and now that I finally have got to, I’m just wondering what all this crazy buzz is about.
The film is highly grim. This poor girl’s life is just so upsetting and miserable that at times it was just hard to watch. I mean just the idea of this girl having her 2nd daughter from her father, byt then her mom being the biggest bitch ever, makes us feel even worse.
Lee Daniels brings an almost psychedelic quality to the film through Precious’ eyes as a way of escapism from the cruelty of life. But where there is pain, there is always hope and this is why the movie evolves into a harrowing film where education brings Precious acceptance, independence, and hope for a better life.
The only problem was that I didn’t feel any emotional strife to this film like everybody was talking about. I felt bad for this girl and wanted her to do better, but I wasn’t so into it. I feel like the film dives too much into the grim reality of things without showing more of how Precious gets a long with her life.
The message at the end of the film didn’t really look like it fit in this film. The portrayal, though powerful, of these people I felt like they were a bit stereotypical. Always saying the n-word, or just being down right dirty didn’t look like it was doing anything right for African Americans.
Sidibe gives the performance that most shy actors would over-play, but instead when she loses control of her emotions, oh she really does. The best here however is Mo’Nique. She gives the most riveting and scariest performance I have seen in a long time from any star. She is filled with so much hate and anger, that every time she was exploding I was so afraid of what she was doing. The other performances from Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz are actually pretty good, and make good supporting roles.
Consensus: Precious is a grim but sometimes lively tale filled with imagination, and great performances from its cast, but doesn’t succeed fully with its ending and message.
In order to get ready for Precious, I chose another Lee Daniels film, that I’m hoping will make Precious a better trip than what I expect.
A nasty crime lord (Stephen Dorff) hires Rose (Helen Mirren) and her stepson Mikey (Cuba Gooding Jr.) — assassin partners and longtime lovers — to off his spouse, Vickie (Vanessa Ferlito). But Rose, ill with cancer and on her last job, spares her mark when she learns Vickie’s with child. The unexpected twist forces Mikey, Rose and their charges to flee to life in suburbia, until the past catches up with them.
Now looking at this film from a person who has seen it all in films, I have got to say this movie is pretty messed up. When you have film with Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. doing it, you know you have a pretty messed up film.
So anyway, all the critics I have read, all HATED this film. For me I’m going to say yeah its odd and kind of weird but really it does a good job with its material. It takes this unusual story and makes it a stylized, enjoyable thriller.I’m not going to lie there are scenes that get a little too out of hand, but after that I still was on the edge of my seat wondering what was to happen next.
I am not a prude and I can see how the sex scenes bring a grittiness that was needed to show the harshness of real life but nothing else about this movie reflects real life. The director almost comically twists the relationships to get a jolt out of the viewer.
Helen Mirren doesn’t quite act to the standard she could have. She looks like at times she just lost a bet, and was given a script to work with and just decided to mildly act it out. Cuba Gooding Jr. does the best job in this film as basically taking the last act of the film and making it his show with a powerful performance. Stephen Dorff, plays the type of 2nd grade villain that doesn’t get enough screen time to show how vicious he really can be, I think this was a problem but he could have done better as well.
The one thing I’ll also say about this film is that it shows these weird couples, but you know what that’s reality. I mean there is a couple of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mo’Nique, this was kind of odd, but it still showed how strange couples can actually be.
Consensus: The over-the-top sex scenes and at points very random, Shadowboxer is a stylized and entertaining little thriller, that doesn’t get the best boot from its cast, but in the end is actually OK.